Not Phishing Until The Cows Come Home

, , , , | Working | February 11, 2021

My wife, an IT manager, is tasked by her director with arranging for more than a hundred employees to receive holiday gift cards from a very, very large e-commerce company. The initial process is actually very easy, as she creates a single file with all of the work email addresses and then submits the order on our personal account because my wife’s company doesn’t have a corporate account, at least that she can access. We are fortunate to have a lot of unused credit, so we are able to front the thousands of dollars until she is reimbursed, which will happen prior to our bill being due.

The next day, my wife answers a call from a man with an Indian accent.

Caller: “Is this [My Name]?”

She hands the phone to me.

Me: “Yes, this is [My Name].”

Caller: “Did you…”

The background noise is so loud that it sounds like the man is on the street in Mumbai or in a market in Hyderabad. We hear cows mooing, horns honking, and people yelling, and we can barely hear the man.

Me: “What did you say?”

I’m wondering if this is some sort of scam call.

Caller: “Garble, garble, garble…”

Now we hear two people yelling at each other in the background, but we still can’t hear the man. I’m getting more concerned that this is a scam, but I’m also getting interested in what the scammer is trying to do.

I finally hear the man ask:

Caller: “Did you authorize [same exact amount as we spent on Large E-Commerce Site]?”

I realize that rather than a scammer, this man is actually “fraud prevention,” because no scammer would know that amount, and a scammer would ask for some information from me.

Me: “Yes, I spent that money on gift cards at [E-Commerce Site].”

Caller: “Thank you.”

And then, with one last “moo” in the background, the line went dead.

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Hmm, Wonder If She Got The Job

, , , , , | Working | February 9, 2021

I work in a restaurant. A woman walks in the door past groups of people waiting in line.

Woman: “I need to see [Manager #1] right now!

Hostess: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but [Manager #1] left just a couple of minutes ago. Is there anything I or [Manager #2] can do to help you?”

Woman: “Well, [Manager #1] told me to come in at four for a job interview. I’m just an hour late; he should’ve waited for me. The nerve of some people!”

Hostess: “Umm… I can take your name and number down and have him call you?”

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Theft And Battery

, , , , | Working | November 26, 2020

Our local grocery store is having a sale on packs of batteries, so I pick some up. The way our store is situated, batteries are at the customer service desk with the cigarettes so that they cannot be shoplifted easily by teenagers.

When I get home, however, my batteries are nowhere to be found. I drive back to the store with the receipt and tell the customer service desk what happened. Amid jeers from the people in line behind me, the employee at the desk finally relents and gives me the batteries.

The next time the store has the sale, the same thing happens. This time, I call the store and mention that the same thing happened last time. The manager gets on the phone and says that the teller forgot to put the batteries in the bag and they’ll be waiting at the customer service desk if I can come back in to get them. So, I make a fourth trip to the grocery store.

This time, I realize that the employee must be doing it on purpose.

On another occasion when they have a sale, I make another trip to buy batteries and only batteries. I march up to the customer service desk.

Me: “I want to buy batteries.”

Employee: “You have to come up here after you’re done with your shopping and pay for it with the rest of your order.”

Me: “I’m not buying anything else.”

Employee: “No, I can only sell batteries after you finish buying your other things.”

I grab a jar of cherries and go back to customer service.

Me: “I’m done shopping. I want to buy batteries. And no bag.”

Employee: “I have to put it in a bag.”

She pulls a pack of batteries off the wall and puts it in a bag with the cherries and my receipt and hands it to me. This time, I take no chances, suspicious of the requirement that I buy something else and put it in a bag. I plop the bag right onto the desk in front of her and pull out the jar of cherries and the receipt and set them next to the bag; sure enough, no batteries. I turn the empty bag upside down.

Me: “So where are the batteries?”

Employee: “Oh, here they are; I set them under the counter for a minute and forgot to put them in the bag.”

The receipt had a customer service survey that I filled out, detailing the problem with buying batteries in the store.

The next time I went to that grocery store, there was a long line leading from the customer service desk which was unstaffed. I don’t know if they fired her or if she recognized me coming and was simply hiding, but I finally bought batteries without issue.

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Is This Where The Word “Gaslighting” Came From?

, , , | Legal | November 6, 2020

Washington DC has separate gas and electric companies, and my building has no gas lines.

Scammer: “I am calling from [Electrical Company] and your gas will be turned off today.”

Me: “What is the address you have on my account?”

I know this is a scam, but I want to see how far the scammer will take this.

Scammer: “[Phone number].”

Me: “Not the phone number, the address.”

Scammer: “[Address].”

Me: “I don’t have natural gas.”

Scammer: “Yes, you do. You haven’t paid for seven months, and it will be shut off today.”

Me: “I live in a co-op and utilities come out of the fee.”

Scammer: “Your meter is not compatible with our systems. You owe for a new meter, not the bill.”

Me: “I don’t have an individual meter; the utilities are measured at the building level.”

Scammer: “Yes, you do. It is a little black box.”

Me: “Why wasn’t I notified about this before?”

Scammer: “We sent you a notification seven months ago.”

Me: “What was the date the notification was sent?”

Scammer: “July seventeenth and August nineteenth.”

Me: “That’s three months ago, not seven.”

Scammer: “Those were the dates of the most recent notifications, not the original one.”

I’ve had enough at this point.

Me: “I think you are trying to scam me.”

Scammer: *Frustrated* “You think what you want, ma’am.” *Click*

At least I ate up some of his time. I also reported the scam to the building manager so our elderly residents don’t get scared into paying!

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Try Water! Now Lactose-Free!

, , , | Right | October 12, 2020

A customer brings up a bottle of half and half.

Customer: “Do you have a fat-free version of this?”

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